What is a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (“BAHA”)
This is a special type of hearing aid recommended when the use of standard hearing aids (which fit into the ear canal) is not possible or difficult.The BAHA is extremely comfortable to use (in most cases the wearer is unaware of its presence) and is cosmetically good.
It has several components. An internal component is fitted underneath the skin behind the ear. This called the ‘flange fixture’.This is made of 100% pure titanium, which integrates into the bone under the skin behind the ear. Human bone cells do not recognise the titanium as a foreign substance, which therefore actually grow firmly onto the titanium surface of the flange fixture. This is what makes the transfer of sound vibrations possible. The second component is called an ‘abutment’ which appears to sit mainly on the outside of the skin behind the ear but passes through a small hole in the skin into the flange fixture. The abutment is coated with a fine layer of “hydroxyapetite” which is a form of artificial bone, which the skin attaches itself to. Younger children have both parts of the implant inserted separately , 3 months apart, but adults and children 8 years and over may have both parts inserted simultaneously.
Who is Suitable for a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid?
This is suitable for adults and children. Those who may benefit include:
- Those who have “middle ear” hearing loss because of absence of the ear canals or because of birth malformations of the middle ear.
- Those with persisting ear discharge or weeping from the ears secondary to long term ear infection which may prevent them from using a standard hearing aid. This may include people who have had “mastoid surgery” in the past.
- Adults and children who are deaf in one ear (single sided hearing loss). The “BAHA” transfers the sound from the affected side into the normal hearing ear and is superior to other types of aiding systems for single sided hearing loss. This may apply to those who have had a progressive loss of hearing in one ear, a sudden hearing loss, a traumatic injury to the ear, or following acoustic neuroma surgery.
Children as young as 2 years of age may be suitable for having a bone anchored hearing aid and there is no upper age limit.
For more information please visit www.ear.co.nz – Dr Colin R. S. Brown